While the world's largest democracy is in the midst of elections, there are 72 other nations around the world that have already hit or would soon be hitting the election trail this year. In fact, 2004 can easily be called the Year of the Elections.
While Indian news and current affairs channels have already come up with innovative ways of keeping viewers glued to television sets during the Lok Sabha elections, international news channel CNN is focusing on the Indian elections along with the other elections happening across the globe. "Our audience of opinion-formers and decision-makers look to us for incisive, timely reporting and analysis of the international implications of global politics, and we are committed to being the channel of record for political and election news around the world," explains Rena Golden, senior vice-president, CNN International.
Specific to the Indian elections, the channel has planned a bouquet of programmes in addition to the coverage of election news. While CNN's New Delhi Bureau Chief Satinder Bindra will focus on covering news and updates on the Indian general elections from the opening of the polls to the time the results are declared, CNN's will also air programmes on a few central themes such as India's economic boom, the growing influence of young voters and the country's quest for global power status. Programmes such as Broad View of Elections - being telecast since April 20th, when the first phase of elections commences - provide a broader view on the major players, major issues and constituents of these elections. A senior official at Turner International says, "The world is keen on watching the Indian elections closely, and we being the lead news channel internationally, the responsibility for a closer coverage increases. Our content reflects this, and we bring viewers coverage of global events with an international as well as regional perspective."
The news channel has also scheduled a programme that traces Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's evolution as a statesman, and one of the most popular prime ministers in Indian history. Bringing an insight into India's booming economy, CNN has also travelled to Mumbai and visited a young call center operator to assess whether lifestyles have changed in keeping with the country's economic transformation. CNN is also attempting to portray the contradictions in India's society through one of the election-centric programmes. As the Turner International official says, "On one hand, the Indian economy is running on all four cylinders and there are people enjoying a life of extreme wealth, where as on the other, extreme poverty still plagues the bulk of this democratic society. Through this programme, CNN plans to unveil the slice of Indian society."
In terms of newscasting technology, the channel claims to have deployed of a 'revolutionary and lightweight technology' called Digital News Gathering, which "enables CNN to set up instant live shots and bring viewers the latest news on an election campaign", says a Turner International executive.
Apart from the election specials, the news channel also has a variety of topical programmes lined up. These include documentaries such as Easy Prey: Inside the Child Sex Trade, which looks at the harrowing issue of trafficking children for sex. The channel would also bring comprehensive coverage of the historic European Union enlargement, apart from coverage of global events such as the Cannes Film Festival in France, the Monaco Grand Prix and the UEFA Champions League Final on CNN's World Sport from Germany.
As CNN tries to bring more variety into its programming strategy, the question that begs answers is whether the new programmes can help CNN increase its viewership in India. Channel officials are choosing to reserve comment on that issue. At least for now. © 2004 agencyfaqs!